Do not negotiate too much - try to understand why prices are as they are
do's and don'ts in the Pamirs
"In South East Asia a hostel room costs only 4$ and here we pay 15$." is a sentence we hear quite often. Tajikistan and the Pamirs are not an expensive destination, but also not the very cheapest one. Why? When you compare this region here to other regions (especially in Asia and Africa) you should think also about some geographical conditions here: Allthough everything looks pretty warm and idyllic during tourism season, Central Asian winters can be very though. A family in the Murghab Region (Karakul, Murghab, Alichur, Shaimaq, Bulunkul...) needs about 1 ton of coal every winter. In Bulunkul teperatures may drop to -40°C or even -60"C sometimes.
Another geographic circumstance is the fact that Tajikistan is a land locked country. The Pamirs are still a very isolated region. Until a product arrives in a small shop here it passes plenty of trade intermediaries so that the prices can rise a lot. During the winter electricity and food get even more expensive.
That is why most homestays cost around 15$ (more or less). Unfortunatley some traveller see travelling as a challenge to get as cheap as possible around the world. They negotiate and get even cheaper around as local people do. Please do not do it like that! Pamiri people are very friendly to tourists and hospitable. Please do not exploit this attitude. If a family invites you please try to leave some money at least. When you hear stories of other traveller, telling you produdly that they stayed for days or weeks for free with local families share these information with them.
This text does not mean that we only want well situated tourists in the Pamirs. If you only have a low budget you can bring your own tent and your camping stuff and we can promise you that it will not be expensive here!
Support locals the proper way!
Bagging children a luckily a rare phenomena here. But at some touristic hotspots we could see during the last season that children were asking for money, because they already got some from other tourists. Giving money to children does not help anyone. If you like to donate money to help the community in the Pamirs you can support one of these projects: